I picked up a new Swarovski 8x30 range finder today. This is the unit that some call the Swarovski 1600. I've also heard it refered to as the Swarovski 1500. It's rated from 10 - 1600 yards.
First impression was the unit is exceptionally well made. The size is just right for a combination of being compact and yet being big enough to hold comfortable. The outer covering texture is non slip and the overall visual and physical impression is typical top of the line Swarovski quality.
I got a chance to compare it to a Leica 1200 scan and a Leupold Wind River range finder binocular combo. So far the only objects were in the 0-600 yard range and then from 900 to 1400 yard range. The Leupold handled things out to 600 but couldn't handle the 900+ ranges. However, I have had it range at 900 yards under favorable conditions but today it was exceptionally bright and sunny. The Leica stayed with the Swarovski out to 1100 yards but then had trouble on some even though it ranged one barn at 1150. The Swarovski ranged one dull barn at 1410 yards that the Leica couldn't get a range on.
In comparing the view through the 3 units I found that the binocular type unit had the bigger field of view as expected but I found that the Swarovski unit had a very bright, large view and was easy on the eye to use. I found that the Leica view was considerably smaller and harder to use to range items. It's like night and day comparing the view through the Leica and Swarovski with the Swarovski being the clear winner.
The impressions I found and saw today followed right along with what Ian had commented on and also what Shawn Carlock had said in previous posts.
We will be out shooting this weekend and I'm going to try and set the three up, if the Leica can be there, and try to get some pictures at different ranges and on different items to get a visual comparison.
Like Shawn said in another post, it's as if the Swarovski is on another planet compared to anything else in it's class at the current time. They're kind of expensive, I paid $770.00 for mine, but if you want a range finder with optics equal to the best binoculars and ranging ability unmatched by other units then the Swarovski is what you need.
That's right, they are 8 power. The spec sheet says they are 8x30 with a field of view at 1000 yards of 408 ft. It says the shortest focusing distance is 10 yards, and the longest is 1600 yards but I tried mine and it ranges from 9 yards on out. They have a standard 1/4-20 tripod fitting and are 4.7" long by 3.9" wide by 1.8" thick. The weight is listed as 13.2 oz. There is a meter/yard selector switch in the battery compartment and the display shows "yd" beside the yardage in the viewfinder when you have "yards" selected. The spec sheets says battery lifetime is a minimum of 1000 measurements.
Most sites I've seen them listed on have them priced at $799.00 on up. I got mine from a local shop that sells scopes, binos etc. I've bought several guns and scopes from him so he dropped the price from his listed $860.00 down to $770.00. He said he had it on order for several months and didn't know when he would be able to get another unit. I checked with Sportsman's Warehouse nearby and they sold the one they had and also said they didn't know when they would be able to get another.
ss7mm: Where your comparisons done held freehand or from a rest? I would love to see a comparison between the new Leica bino range finder and the SWARO. The difference in cost is like a $1000.00. I did enjoy your report, thanks for the information. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/wink.gif[/img]
"A HUNTER SHOULD LIVE OFF HIS GUNS" JOHN TAYLOR
All tests and comparisons between the Leica and Swarovski were done on a tripod. It makes a lot of difference, especially at longer yardages, if you don't use a tripod or a good solid rest. In all fairness to the Leica, I know the battery in the Swarovski was new but I don't know the condition of the battery in the Leica. I do know the guy who owns it and he keeps a fresh battery in it so I am sure the difference was not related to battery power.
One thing I noticed about the Swarovski was that there is a 3 second delay in ranging another item after you previously ranged something if you are not in scan mode. It says in the manual that this time is to allow the laser to recharge and give maximum performance each time.
I sometimes use them hand held out to medium ranges, if the target is large enough, but I normally try to use a rest of some type no matter what the range is. It just makes the indicated range more accurate.
I've seen indicated ranges on different units vary by 10-25 yards or more when handheld at longer ranges. You then put the same unit on a tripod and the fluctuations in yardage go down to +- 1 yard or so usually.
When I bought my unit he also had the combo Leica in the display but I was afraid to look at it because the temptation would be too great. I believe he had the list price at about $1750.00 for the combo unit.
Well thank you for the fast reply. A couple of my buddies just got the Leica's and it would be an interesting test between the two. Why not go back and buy the Leica's [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img] and submit another report. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img] I'm sure the guy that sold you the Swaro would think of you as a real player! All kidding aside, your report is a great help!
"A HUNTER SHOULD LIVE OFF HIS GUNS" JOHN TAYLOR
The Leica combo unit would be really tempting but I am having a new custom gun built this summer and have to keep my habits in check until I see how bad Kirby is gonna get in my knickers over the new rig.
I think the Swarovski is gonna be great but I am playing with the idea of getting a Wild rangefinder for loooong range and semi permanent hunting setups. Even though they are big and ugly it would be a really cheap way to get an awesome long range rangefinder.